My point of view for Notes/Domino programming shifts – more and more

Due to the last months I recognized that my point of view for programming with Notes and Domino shifts – more and more.

And it is a good shift!

First of all: this is not a blog post about another “moving away” Notes/Domino/Lotus whatever guy. I love these products and I strongly believe that they have a future. That may not apply to anybody who is working with the Lotus IBM products. But for me it is true. Let’s talk about the shift…

Around 11 years ago when I first started with Notes and Domino using 4.57h running on top of OS/2 I got excited. Building small/medium/large applications, replacing spreadsheed “applications” with nifty workflow applications, using @Formula for a short while and moved very quickly to LotusScript. Everything was fine.

After a period of time I investigated in Java development, did some nice Java agents and more stuff in that area. Ah, yes, web “programming” (as you may say “programming” when you use HTML and CSS) has been around since 1998, too. Everything was fine.

With the new Notes client 8.0, based on Eclipse, my world started changing. Not the hard way, really silent. I started my investigations around Plug-In developement. It was a hard way, as the entry point of doing that kind of development is not as low as somebody may expect. Due the lack of some (good) documentation it was more a kind of trial-and-error. With the time the results became better and better. I’ve built some real nice plug-ins, some are known, others are not (as they’ve been built for businesses). Everything was fine.

With the introduction of XPages another new technology has entered my life. IBM did a good job with the SSJS technology and the transformation of @Commands/@Language to XPages. That helped a lot. I saw – and see – more and more (Notes/Domino) programmers attracted to that stuff. What I like too is the neat integration with Java. Managed Beans are my – and your – friend. My investigations into Java and the Plug-In technology have been worthwile. Everything is fine.

2011 brought another shift for me. With 8.5.2 IBM has deliverd the Eclipse Equinox Http Server on top of Domino (it’s built-in – hopefully you know it). That’ll allow you to build servlets on Domino. Servlets that’ll be good citizens in your Domino infrastructure. And do you know what? Those servlets are “just” Plug-Ins. They are fast, they are – as far as I can say – easy to maintain and they have a future! By the way: the XPages extensibility API are although “just” Plug-Ins. Everything is fine.

So – where is the shift I’ve mentioned in the subject of this post? Well – hopefully you’ve read the above written lines carefully. My development preferences moved from standard Notes/Domino development to Java development. And better, they moved to Plug-In development. If you’re a serious programmer for the Notes/Domino platform – and IMHO you should be to have a future – you really need to go the Plug-In way.
It was sad, that I hadn’t a lot of people in my “OSGi” (the “pure” Plug-In stuff) session at DNUG a few weeks ago. I think people missed the point. If you’re at a technical conference – take a look at this technology. IBM has directed YOU into this future since Notes 8 – now it is YOUR part to get on speed. It’s worth!